France

Mercedes-Benz W123 Coupe with Constructam Caravan | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2009)

Mercedes-Benz C123 | A Comet coupled to a Coupé

Flag FranceSurfing makes hungry and supplies don’t last forever. Coming back from shopping groceries at the local supermarket in Lit-et-Mixe, we found this period-perfect car and trailer combination: A shiny blue Mercedes-Benz W123 Coupé with a Constructam Comet 6T caravan in tow. Unfortunately the owner wasn’t around at the time, so I couldn’t ask him, if this particular combination had in fact been together for almost three decades. And when I woke up the next day… he had already left the campground and moved on.

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Peugeot 504 Break US-spec | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2013)

Peugeot 504 Break USDM-spec | Early morning surprise

Flag FranceIf you are a frequent reader of this blog, you might remember seeing a glimpse or two of this Peugeot 504 Break in the post about the Winnebago LeSharo. Even the EU-spec vehicles are kind of hard to find in good condition these days, because many of them have been exported to northern African countries years ago, to be used (and abused) as taxi cabs. Finding this US-spec model on an early morning was a nice and unexpected surprise. No visible rust on this extremely rare car, but very lovely patina. If cars could talk, this one would definitely be able to tell some interesting stories about the adventures of a long life on at least two different continents…

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Station Service Ouverte France | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2013)

Lost Places | Beheaded bodies, robbed carcasses and zombies

Flag FranceDiscovering a defunct service station displaying a sign saying Station Ouverte was already weird in its’ own right. The place looked like it had been left in a hurry and the proprietors haven’t returned since. Being the kind of person who is always keen to figure out what might have happened, I walked around the building and found… the carcass of a little vehicle the French call La Deuche.

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Station Service Ouverte France | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2013)

Lost Places | Station Service Ouverte

Flag FranceYesterdays’ post featured a small service station that went out of business, but isn’t fenced off or has a sign saying so. The story today is different. You are looking at pictures of a substantially bigger service station that, for lack of a better word, is closed. Nonetheless, it does sport a sign saying: Station Ouverte.

To tell you the honest truth – this place looked like a film set straight out of a zombie movie! The lack of traffic, heavy clouds and a slight drizzle didn’t make it any more friendly or welcoming!

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Jeep / Renault 4 Conversion | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2010)

Willys MB Jeep with Renault R4 body conversion

Flag FranceIn June 2010 we took the scenic route through the Gorges du Tarn. Climbing out of the canyon and heading towards Le Puy, we drove past a service station somewhere in the rural Département Lozère. As always, I immediately slowed down to take a closer look and was once more rewarded by finding something rather unusual: a leftover WWII Willys MB Jeep that has been cross-bred with a Renault R4. The bodywork of the conversion looked very professional and is actually very clever, because the region sees a lot of snow in winter. Judging by the faded red paint and the rotating light on the roof, it might have once belonged to the local fire department. The markings on the left door indicate that it may have been used by the local garage as well, probably as a service or recovery vehicle?

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Station Service Le Rousset France | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2010)

Lost Places | Station Service Le Rousset

Flag FranceWhen was the last time you found something not only totally unexpected, but also thought to be extinct by now? Trundling along the Route Départementale D27 at a leisurely pace on a hot day with no cloud in sight, we had a moment just like that, when we found the cutest rural petrol station and workshop. The icing on the cake most definitely was the color-matched Renault R5, which made the scene even more unreal.

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Rust in Peace Germans in France | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2010)

Rust in Peace | Germans in France

Flag FranceIf you have read the story about the star on a reasonably priced car, you already know how I found a field full of faded treasures in rural southern France.

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Rust in Peace Italians in France | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2010)

Rust in Peace | Italians in France

Flag FranceAfter posting the German cars resting rusting in a field in southern France, Drive-by Snapshots brings you the Italian counterparts found at the same location: the proverbial sleeping beauties. In the first picture, a Lancia Beta Coupé and a Lancia Beta HPE are guarded by an angry looking Simca Aronde.

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Mercedes-Benz 280 SE | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2010)

Mercedes-Benz W108 | A star on a reasonably priced car

Flag FranceMercedes-Benz W108 | A star on a reasonably priced car

Once upon a time…
This is how most fairy tales begin. This is no fairy tale, though.

Once upon a time we traveled through France and my friend asked me whether or not I had seen the classic car behind a bush we just passed. I thought she wanted to fool me and kept driving all the way to… the next roundabout. This is what they have been invented for anyways. Turning around and driving back, all the way thinking about this (possibly nice) opportunity for a Drive-by Snapshot. Finding the bespoke classic car behind the bush was great – but discovering a whole field with literally dozens of classics, left me speechless.

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Rust in Peace British Heritage in France | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2010)

Rust in Peace | British Heritage in France

Flag FranceWell, you have probably read the posts about the German and Italian vehicles found in a field in southern France. OK then, this post is about the British heritage fading away in the very same location. The Mini Mk1 and the Land Rover Series II look as if you could save them, albeit probably with a little more work than it looks at first sight.

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Rust in Peace Les Francaises | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2010)

Rust in Peace | Les Françaises

Flag FranceA field with fading beauties from various countries in southern France. So far, vehicles from Germany, Italy and the UK have been featured here on Drive-by Snapshots. But this little series of posts couldn’t be complete without the French, or could it? Non monsieur! Pas du tout!

OK then, we’ll start this post with the colors of the French flag: bleu, blanc et rouge. Fun fact: you can see the Italian colors in the background (with a little help from a gentle Brit).

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Eurl Garage Reitz Louannec | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2010)

La Bretagne est magnifique.

Flag FranceDiscovering the Bretagne region in France is always a stunning experience: the wild coast, the important landmarks, unique rock formations and then some more. Driving from one interesting spot to the other never gets boring. Around every corner you turn, there is something of historical significance waiting to be looked at. Being a car aficionado that loves to take Drive-by Snapshots, I always make sure to look out for interesting vehicles. However, sometimes the interesting stuff is not around a corner at all, but rather right within your focal vision.

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dbs Renault Alpine A110 Andelot-Blancheville | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2010)

Renault Alpine A110 à Andelot-Blancheville

Flag FranceOn our way to a wedding in France we opted to take the more scenic Routes Nationales. Driving two days instead of one and taking pictures of interesting things on the way is just so much better than trundling along on the boring Autoroute at 130 km/h. Entering the tranquil town Andelot-Blancheville we found the central plaza full of interesting classic and vintage vehicles, one of which was this Gordini blue Renault Alpine A110 in front of the Hotel-Restaurant Le Cantarel. I especially liked the perfect color-matched parking. Look closely and you will find hints of future posts in the window reflection of the restaurant.

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Mini Mk1 with Trailer | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2010)

Mini Mk1 | A Mini with a mini-me trailer

Flag FranceWhen you least think of it, something out of the ordinary happens. One day in March 2010 we went across the Rhine River to do some shopping in France. As we step out of the Super U we find this lovely little Mini Mk1, complete with a matching trailer. Cute, isn’t it?

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Transports Rougier N21 | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2009)

Transports Rougier

Flag FranceA late afternoon in September 2009. The low sun provided a special light to the French landscape and the sky was filled with heavy clouds. We were driving along the Route Nationale 21 between Périgeux and Limoges, as the first lightning of a nearing thunderstorm stroke. A classic Mack truck was sitting at the intersection in Les Thermes Ouest. I stopped briefly to take a picture, and found the spotless Transports Rougier fleet in the background…

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Modern Garage France | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2009)

Modern’ Garage Chalus

Flag FranceSeptember 2009. Late afternoon, somewhere in rural France. Running low on fuel, we were looking for a service station to fill up the trusty Mercedes. Eventually we found a station just before sunset – and right next to it one of those places that are well and truly lost in time. The overall impression didn’t really match the name of the place – Modern’ Garage. It might have been modern when the sign-writer painted the letters on the front wall decades ago. Peeking inside, we spotted a seemingly brand new Ford Escort Mk3 and many parts boxes of the same period. Around the back I found a Renault 5 Mk2, a pre-facelift Renault 21 and a Peugeot 403. I intended to take a few pictures, but a rather unfriendly dog reminded convinced me that I really wanted to cover many more kilometers before nightfall…

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Volkswagen T2b Biarritz | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2009)

Volkswagen T2b | This is not an abandoned vehicle

Flag FranceThis was one of those ‘by chance’ finds. While trying to find a good vantage point to take a few pictures of Biarritz, I turned into one of those dead-end alleys you often find near the beach. Out of curiosity I followed the tiny road around a bend – and found this Fuchs equipped Volkswagen T2 hiding there. Quite clever actually: park where it’s free of charge, grab your surfboard and head for one of the famous surfing spots. I really like the sticker on the windscreen, because it somehow fits the overall theme of the van.

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Biarritz Chateau d'Ilbarritz | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2009)

Lost places | Biarritz, Château d’Ilbarritz

Flag FranceBiarritz, France. A beautiful sunny and warm day in spring. I was driving around randomly, looking for interesting things to take pictures of. Finding the old Château d’Ilbarritz by chance, I hiked up the hill to have a closer look. Quite an impressive building, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the Biarritz Golf Course. Peeking over the fence was rewarded by a nice surprise: two classic cars enjoying the early summer sunshine, completely undisturbed. An 02-Series BMW and a Renault R4, both early models with more chrome trim than the later models.

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dbs Ford Transit Mk1 camper van | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2009)

Ford Transit Mk1 | Forwards ever – backwards never!

Flag FranceThere are a number of songs with that or very similar titles that instantly came to my mind while sorting pictures from a 2009 trip to the French Atlantic coast. We spotted this Ford Transit Mk1 camper van in Hossegor. Looking forward is aided by a classic roof mounted spotlight and a set of (not really period-correct) Hella Micro FF fog lights… while looking backwards isn’t really that easy with a missing rear-view mirror. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to speak to the owner if this beautiful camper was in original condition or if it has been restored.

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Renault 5 A5 Turbo | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2009)

Renault R5 A5 Turbo | Up the hip!

Flag FranceFinding this little gem in Hossegor was a treat. The silver of the Renault 5 A5 Turbo matched the orange in the background perfectly. Looking at the picture again recently while resizing it and adding the watermark, I discovered something in the picture that I had missed previously: the store is called HIP UP – and the little girl is sitting up on daddy’s hip. Funny coincidence, isn’t it?

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